Perfume Directory

Tolu (2002)
by Ormonde Jayne

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Tolu information

Year of Launch2002
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 112 votes)

People and companies

HouseOrmonde Jayne
PerfumerLinda Pilkington
PerfumerGeza Schoen

About Tolu

Tolu is a feminine perfume by Ormonde Jayne. The scent was launched in 2002 and the fragrance was created by perfumers Geza Schoen and Linda Pilkington

Tolu fragrance notes

Reviews of Tolu

Tolu is one of perfumer Geza Schoen's early perfumes and one of the perfumes that launched the Ormonde Jayne line in 2002. It's an interesting spin on the oriental genre and provides a glimpse of the techniques and style that would become Schoen's signature. It also demonstrates how a 'contemporary' style ages.

Contemporary independent perfumers have riffed on the oriental perfume since the niche trend started. Just as Christopher Sheldrake did with the Bois series for Serge Lutens, Schoen based Tolu on a close reading of the traditional model. Both perfumers deciphered it, focussing not just on the compositional 'recipe' but the logic behind it---the how and the why. Sheldrake's Bois perfumes were famous/infamous for their optimistic use of woody amber materials, and in this respect there is a lot of common ground in Sheldrake's and Schoen's methodologies. Where they differ is in their relationships to archetypal oriental perfumes.

Sheldrake bent what he found into a distinctly new shape. Shoen also took the genre down to the studs but came up with a different model for innovation: facsimile. Tolu is a clever rebuild of the traditional oriental perfume. In terms of scent Tolu and Guerlain Shalimar run on close parallel paths but they diverge sharply when it comes to texture. Tolu's stained glass luminescence has all of Shalimar's richness but none of the opacity and graininess that makes it seem dated to the modern nose.

Schoen recreates Shalimar's citrus accord with an evergreen/herbal mix. It has a whiff of turpentine, whose citric/lime facet replicates Shalimar's bergamot topnote. The aromatic herbal accord lasts well into drydown, making it an ingenious proxy for Shalimar's famously hefty dose of Guerlinade. As the name implies Tolu's resinous core stems from tolu balsam, which gives the perfume an unwrinkled matte appearance. Tolu's heart is significantly less sweet than Shalimar's but the vanilla is just as pronounced and tolu balsam's hint of cinnamon accents vanilla's woodiness. Leather is as prominent as it is in the Guerlain but without the smoky backdrop of birch tar it is sheerer and decidedly more modern. Shoen gave his perfume a sizable orange blossom note, which differs from the Guerlain's jasmine and rose heart, but adds noticeably to the perfume's suntanned glow.

Tolu's innovative reimagining of an historical genre with contemporary materials made it novel when it was released in 2002 but the particular style of luminosity does date it. It scores exceedingly high on 'radiance' which pegs it as a Millennial Perfume, a cohort of fragrances composed with famously high percentages of insistent woody-amber materials. To Schoen's great credit, Tolu has aged more gracefully than most perfumes of the early '00s. It reads as era-specific rather than outdated. Trend might have followed Shoen, but he lead through innovation.

Part of the charm and appeal of oriental perfumes has always been their over-the-topness. To the modern nose, though, they might be a little much for daily wear, like opera or high drag. For those who do favor the Emeraudes, Tabus and Youth Dews of the world Tolu's light version of a dense style might seem inauthentic, like a spray tan or a faked orgasm. But for those who find traditional perfumes a bit too heavily brocaded Tolu offers an oriental without melodrama.

(from scenthurdle.com)
02nd March, 2018
Despite not being wowed at first sniff, I have come around to the pleasures of Tolu. It has a bitter, spicy broom note that slices through the golden, balsamic sweetness of amber to create something that is both fresh and heavy, like a flourless chocolate torte that dissolves into fennel dust on the tongue. The kind of thing that invites you to take a second slice, even in summer. I can see this working as a sort of upmarket Dune.
29th August, 2017
Tolu is a beautiful resiny, balsamy oriental that just feels comfortable and is gorgeous in winter. The perfume has a strong herby opening (clary sage) with some florals that lifts it out of straight amber territory. The bath oil doesn't have as much herb and is more about the beautiful amber and spice (cinnamon) middle and base. For me, Tolu is about winter walks - the warming oriental part blends perfectly with the slightly bracing herbs to somehow evoke the feeling of being warm and comfortable outside walking in the park or in the woods in magical winter weather, rather than wrapped up indoors eating chocolates (which is also a fine pursuit!).
19th July, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
The opening is a delight: whilst the juniper berry is not really top-notch - this is no Baie de Genievre - together with the sage, lily-of-the-valley and the orange blossom this quartet results is a pleasant mélange that is not without an original twist. In the drydown the floral is strengthened by a pleasant and fairly bright rose impression. The base is clearly dominanted by its - at times a bit bland - ambery core, combined with vanilla - not too intense or sweet - and the tolu, which on my skin is neither overly resinous not particularly spicy.

The sillage is moderate, the projection very good and the longevity eleven hours overall; the last hours are very close to my skin.

A lovely spring creation, with attempts of originality resilting in a well crafted creation that is, however, mainly due to the somewhat generic base constituents, less interesting towards the end. In the end: just barely a postive score based on its opening. 3/5.
12th January, 2017
The elements are all there: a tart herbal opening, a well-rendered floral heart, atop a rich warm base of resins. A classically inspired floral oriental that stays true to the house's penchant for subtlety, TOLU is akin to an orchestral symphony played at barely-there, elevator-level volume with the control knob missing. Like biting into giant whopper of a burger that is a couple of beef patties short. Or spying a languid titillating striptease act from a coin-operated viewing box and running out of change.

In other words, hugely unsatisfying.
20th October, 2015
The opening of Tolu is pleasant, warm, cozy, slightly floral on a mellow bed of resins halfway boozy, ambery and powdery; I get a balsamic accord, something musky and vanillic-anisic quite sweet and dusty, woods, spices (saffron?). Basically a sort of really balmy, ambery powdery scent with a bold exotic feel, halfway gourmand and balsamic, warm and thick but also gentle, at the same time invigorating, rich, refined and much pleasant to wear (at least initially). It reminds me quite a bit of musky-powdery scents (like Teint de Neige by Villoresi, or His Majesty Jaipur Homme), just less plushy and more dark, more woody and more boozy-resinous. Somehow close to Sheldrake’s style and favourite notes too. So, anyway, really pleasant... for a hour or so, then it basically “collapses” and half of its personality just vanishes away, thus becoming a still pleasant, yet much generic and light woody-resinous scent with a salty aftertaste, vaguely balsamic and a bit ambery, more dry and far more tamed down than the opening. Somehow the same smell, but emptied from any tasty richness – like a duller hologram. After a couple of hours it’s even worse, as you remain with just a light ambery thingy. It’s nice overall, but in my opinion it makes more promises than it can actually honor.

6,5/10
24th December, 2014

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Ormonde Jayne TOLU Eau de Parfum 50ml - Sealed In Box

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Ormonde Jayne TOLU Eau de Parfum 120ml - Sealed In Box

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ORMONDE JAYNE Tolu *CRISP HERBAL ORIENTAL* niche perfume

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Ormonde Jayne Tolu Eau De Parfum 3ml Sample Glass Spray Bottle

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ORMONDE JAYNE Tolu *CRISP HERBAL ORIENTAL* niche perfume

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Ormonde Jayne TOLU 2ml Eau de Parfum Natural Spray Vial

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ORMONDE JAYNE TOLU EAU DE PARFUM SPRAY 2 ML / 0.07 OZ NEW SAMPLE

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Ormonde Jayne TOLU 8ml Eau de Parfum Travel Spray

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ORMONDE JAYNE TOLU EAU DE PARFUM SPRAY 4.0 OZ / 120 ML NEW IN BOX

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